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The corrosion resistance of cerium silicide, a surrogate of uranium silicide, is investigated to gain insight into the reaction of uranium silicide with water. As-received and proton-irradiated Ce3Si2, CeSi2, and CeSi1.x monolithic pellets are subjected to corrosion tests in water at 300°C and 9 MPa for up to 48 h. Results show that an oxide layer composed of Ce4.67 (SiO4)3O forms on the surface of all samples, and it grows thicker with extended exposure times. Irradiated samples corrode to a greater extent than their unirradiated counterparts, which is mainly a result of the existing post-irradiation cerium oxide and the presence of ion-induced defects. Most of the Ce3Si2 samples crack (as-received) or fracture (ion-irradiated) during testing, which is due to the brittleness of the samples and oxide erosion/spallation that occur during testing.


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Copyright 2016 by the American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, Illinois.